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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Commentaries by the award-winning journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
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Now displaying: October, 2006
Oct 18, 2006
If the minions of the neocon right are to be believed, the struggle in Iraq, (and by extension, the Middle East) is essentially a war against what they call "extremism." Even the verbally challenged President George W. Bush has argued, quite strenuously, against "Islamic extremists." It seems like many in the right are trying out new terms every week, to stoke the fires of fear about new and foreboding threats to the besieged American republic: "extremists"; "Islamic extremists"; "Islamofascists"; "dead-enders", et al. For politicians words are weapons, which are used to sell images, such like Madison Ave. sells soap. Every so often, even the best product must be made "new" or "improved!" And why shouldn't they? Hasn't it worked before? We now sneer at the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction', but several years ago it rang in the head like a klaxon. Is it radical or extremist to fight against foreigners who invade your country, and try to impose strangers who function as puppets for these foreigners? Why is the administration never seen as "extremist" for invading a foreign country based on false pretenses? Why isn't it viewed as "extreme" for its mad plan to 'remake the face of the Middle East?' Why isn't its response for the desperate acts of 19 men, (9/11), of invading a nation that had nothing to do with that act, seen as "extreme?" That it isn't is largely because of the obedient services of the corporate media, which sought obscene ratings by playing the fear card, and waving the flag. They did so because their paychecks are signed by big business, and this administration has been good for big business. They served their corporate masters, but betrayed their publics. Yet this is hardly a new thing. Scholar and writer, Michael Parenti, in the 2004 book Super Patriotism (San Francisco: City Lights Books) looks beyond the present manic Bush Regime, to view a long history of US extremism all around the world: "US LEADERS HAVE LONG PROFESSED A DEDICATION TO DEMOCRACY, yet over the last half century they have devoted themselves to overthrowing democratic governments in Guatemala, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Syria, Indonesia (under Sukarno), Greece (twice), Argentina (twice), Haiti (twice), Bolivia, Jamaica, Yugoslavia, and other countries. These countries were all guilty of pursuing policies that occasionally favored the poorer elements and infringed upon the more affluent. In most instances, the US-sponsored coups were accompanied by widespread killings of democratic activists. "US leaders have supported covert actions, sanctions, or proxy mercenary wars against revolutionary governments in Cuba, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Iraq (with the CIA ushering in Saddam Hussein's reign of repression), Portugal, South Yemen, Nicaragua, Cambodia, East Timor, Western Sahara, and elsewhere. "US interventions and destabilization campaigns have been directed against other populist nationalistic governments, including Egypt, Lebanon, Peru, Iran, Syria, Zaire, Venezuela, the Fiji Islands, and Afghanistan (before the Soviets ever went into the country). "And since World War II, direct US military invasions or aerial attacks or both have been perpetrated against Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, North Korea, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Somalia, and Iraq (twice). There is no 'rogue state,' 'axis of evil,' or communist country that has a comparable record of such criminal aggression against other nations." (pp. 133-34] In light of this kind of history, who are the "extremists?" In light of this history, who are the "radicals?" This isn't a 'war against extremism' -- it is a war waged by extremists. It is a war waged by ideologues drunk on power, and willing to break a nation to prove their theories of the so-called 'free market.' Iraq is essentially a broken state, awaiting its final crack. Like hungry wolves, these dudes are looking for the next morsel to munch on. Column Written 10/15/06. Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Oct 18, 2006
The numbers recently announced from a John Hopkins University study could not be more stunning: since the March 2003 start of the Iraq War, some 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died. 600,000! The number, drawn from a random sampling of Iraqis, drew almost immediate condemnation from the military-news media establishment. Even George Rex III, sniffed at a recent press conference, "That study is flawed." This from the guy who, when asked several months ago, how many Iraqi civilians died, blithely replied, "I dunno -- around 30,000." The John Hopkins study, published in a recent edition of The Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Association, did not claim that 600,000 Iraqis were slain by so-called ''coalition forces." The number reflected deaths from all causes, including illnesses, and accidents. But what Dr. Gilbert Burnham did say could hardly be called reassuring. Burnham, the study's lead author, and professor of international health at John Hopkins, said that the coalition directly caused the deaths of 31% of Iraqi civilians. Now, I ain't no math wiz, but according to my trusty calculator, that means the so-called 'coalition' is responsible for the deaths of a stunning 186,000 Iraqis! 186,000! What the study tells us is that war brings both direct and indirect causes of death, for the destruction of resources and infrastructure leads, inexorably, to serious health problems that can lead to death. As I thought of those numbers -- 186,000 -- 600,000 -- I thought of the talking heads from the White House and the think tanks, echoing "Iraq is better off," "Iraq is much better ..." Madness. The study, a joint undertaking of the Baltimore-based John Hopkins University and the Baghdad-based School of Medicine at Al Mustansiriya University, estimated that the country has suffered some 600 deaths a day since the U.S. invasion. 600 deaths -- a day. Do Iraqis think that things are better now than they were under Saddam? Why not listen to the voices of some Iraqis, instead of paid shills for the administration? The writer Anthony Arnove, in his recent book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal (New York: The New Press, 2006) made the following observations: "Three years into an occupation that its defenders boasted would rebuild Iraq, many Iraqis say conditions were better under sanctions and dictatorship. In much of the country, there is less electricity than before the invasion, with predictable consequences, including 'patients who die in emergency rooms when equipment stops running.' Even many Iraqis who had supported the U.S. invasion, in the hope that it would bring some improvement to their lives, now denounce the occupation. 'We loved the Americans when they came. I believed them when they said they came to help us,' said one Iraqi, Hossain Ibrahim, a former student. 'But now I hate them, they are worse then Saddam.'" [p. 14] A mad war, driven by mad men, with their shiny eyes on oil, and the dream of 'remaking the Middle East', have dreamt a disaster, where over 1/2 a million people are now and forever gone. There is something fundamentally insane about this. There is the sub rosa, and quiet assurance that the lives of Arabs don't really count for much. This is what you get for a billion bucks a week! This is what occupation looks like. Column Written 10/12/06. Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Oct 18, 2006
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Oct 16, 2006
ONA MOVE! I greet you all, those gathered here in support of the work and liberty of Attorney Lynne Stewart, on the eve of her sentencing in federal court. It is my pleasure to join y'all, if only in this limited way. I also want to be clear that the sentiments expressed here are my own, and are not those of Lynne. I speak only to support her, and wish her a very favorable outcome in the days ahead. Lynne Stewart is, simply speaking, a legend in the realm of law, for her defense of people engaged in struggles against the powerful. That said, I think it's safe to say that although she has defended Black nationalists, Lynne Stewart is not a Black nationalist. She has defended Puerto Rican nationalists, though I bet she isn't a Puerto Rican nationalist. And though she has defended Omar Abdel-Rahman (known as the blind Sheikh), who was convicted of involvement in the first terrorist strike at the World Trade Center, we can all agree she's no terrorist. It is only in the maddening age, in the shadows of 9/11, that a prosecution like this could even be contemplated, and won! And that is a testament more to fear, than to reason. Let's be honest -- She was convicted of essentially breaking a prison rule! You know, if a prisoner violates a prison rule, he or she may get 30 or 60 days in the hole. Or, perhaps, a reprimand. In the United States of America, Lynne Stewart faces 30 years! That should make you wonder, not about Lynne Stewart, but about the country you're living in. About the nature of the thing we all call the 'law'. Lynne Stewart, a 66-year old woman, is facing a life sentence for breaking a prison rule! Of course, being the feds, prison rules have fancy titles, like the Special Administrative Measures (or SAMs), and yes, lawyers had to sign it to see their clients, but that's what it is, a prison rule. Lynne's only 'crime' (if it can be called that), is thinking that the old rules sill applied after 9/11. We -- all of us -- live in a world where Congress recently debated torture, and agreed to let George W. Bush decide! Where secret prisons now sit, administered by the CIA, in the former Soviet bloc countries! Where habeas corpus -- remember that so-called 'Great Writ?' -- will be denied to those who are tortured by U.S. military, government employees, (or private contractors) -- on King George's say so! Lynne, like any thinking person, probably read the rules, saw that they were profoundly unconstitutional, and presumed that any judge who swore an oath to the Constitution, would say so too. Maybe before 9/11. Not now. This is our world. This is the madness that passes for sober thought in today's America. But, the people -- each one of you -- aren't powerless. By being here tonight, you want to join your voice with Lynne's; to say, to show, that this woman isn't alone. That is a good and powerful thing! Yet, I must say one other thing (again, my opinion -- not Lynne's). Egypt is a terrorist state. It uses brutal and monstrous torture against its political opponents. Does that mean that one endorses terrorism against that, or any state? Of course not. But it means we cannot ignore state terrorism. Whether in Egypt -- or here in the U.S. of A. Secret prisons. Torture chambers in Guantanamo, Cuba. Prisoners disappeared in Bagram, in Diego Garcia, and in places -- so-called 'black sites' with names unknown, where who-knows-what goes on. It's time for people to join hands, join forces, and join movements, to change this sad state of affairs. Lynne Stewart's work, in support of human rights for all, and a zealous defense for all, is a damned good starting point!! Speech Written 10/7/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Oct 6, 2006
Message to 1st Annual Central NY Locks Conference 2006FIRST ANNUAL CENTRAL NEW YORK LOCKS CONFERENCE Saturday, October 21, 2006 Tompkins County Public Library 101 East Green Street Ithaca, New York 11 AM - 4 PM FREE The First Annual Central New York Locks Conference will embrace the beauty of natural hair throughout the African diaspora, while also focusing on the history and contemporary impact of "dreadlocks" or locked hair. The theme of the this year's conference is the effect of mass incarceration on communities given that certain appearances within communities of color are often negatively stereotyped and criminalized. The First Annual Central New York Locks Conference will feature... Mumia Abu-Jamal special welcome address Harold Wilson 122nd innocent person released from death row Pam & Ramona Africa MOVE Organization/Int'l Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal New York Campaign for Telephone Justice Coalition working across NYS to STOP THE CONTRACT between DOCS and Verizon/MCI Ewuare Osayande People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism (POWER) Vanessa Johnson presenting HAIR TALES... films, exhibits, vendors, and much more.... (vendor inquiries welcome) plus.... THE AFTER PARTY.... evening EDU-TAINMENT featuring roots | culture | spoken word | rebel music Saturday, October 21, 2006 Lost Dog Lounge 106-112 South Cayuga Street Ithaca, New York 8 PM $5 featuring... Taina Asili Vanessa Johnson Ewuare Osayande cypher:dissdent BROADCAST LIVE for more info... 607-277-2121 or info@stamp-cny.org
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